Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Fat History Month / Spook Houses split single on Double Whammy Records

If you haven't heard of either Fat History Month or Spook Houses on this split I just want you to know readers, that I completely throw all the powerful weight and influence of 7INCHES thoroughly behind this single...sight unheard. It's more than just loving Fat History Month so much already that I had to help put one of their singles out there myself. It's also because Spook Houses is members of LVL UP which was a real sleeper full length for me. I don't know if this project signals that they've completely moved on, but I definitely have to hear both sides of this.

The Spook Houses track, "Living the Dream" has the best sounding mix of production. I think that’s the thing that continues to stick out on LVL UP and how much they remind me of the groundbreaking, completely insane Who Will Cut Our Hair When We’re Gone? from The Unicorns. These guys have the same no boundaries in the best way, dark static beats and a warbly junk guitar solo that blasts in. They layer the vocals in sounding like They Might Be Giants matter of fact styling or The Magnetic Fields if they weren’t so uptight. Sparkling synth pours over this at the last minute and it’s glaring guitar progressions. A theremin of melody over the deep vocal that ends too soon.
"Black Dog" sounds like a dark séance as their vocals reach in to close the circle on this doubled home recorded experiment. I completely love what these guys are doing, it's all the best things about early Smog or the Microphones, the same kind of intimacy while totally messing with your expectation of these sounds. The whirring, chopped up beats and mechanics, the distorted lyrics, close mic'd acoustic - completely inspiring by it’s lack of rules. Sounding like Hayden on this one with the spirit of Westing (By Musket and Sextant) riding heavily across the track channeling their experimental spirit. Stick up the parts, cut the path, sing through a tin can, melt the feedback, all in an organic way, there's nothing abrasive about this. It's a real thought out straight chaos that allows for happy accidents and literally explosion samples and overdriven toms. This track has got it all. I really don't want to stop listening to this. A real departure and evolution from an earlier single I just realized I covered back in 2011? Now I’m extra confused.

Fat History Month opens their side with the most epic instrumental track, "Skin Divers in Action". I really love the guitar tones Jeff gets on their recordings, they just nail this sad, isolated sound with a real lonesome picking that immediately carries their fingerprints all over it, and Bob on drums smattering in precise handfuls of fills. The metal string guitar plinks gets insanely loud and the rest of the track collapses in on itself. Every time I've seen them live it's a great balancing act, a real tightrope of tempo's just teetering on bringing everything to a halt and drop back in on that steep halfpipe of distortions. On the verge of breaking strings Jeff is snapping them over the fret board, sounding like multiple layers of delicate strings. I’m stuck on their Don Cab track titles and abstract vocals, but then they can also get away with these intricate complex longer pieces and I don't even notice I haven't heard Jeff singing yet? Amazing. Crazy dynamics, the guitar threatening to spin free of it's reverb orbit and pulling dirge Melvins style chasms of their instruments.
"Angel from Montgomery" is a real surprise cover of a John Prine track that lends itself to a great interpretation here. They expand on the original tempo with exceptionally pounded out chords here, making this sound somehow full of optimism. Jeff’s vocals are layered in the mic with that Built to Spill sound but loose and setting full sail on this mathy cowboy trail. Gravel and jitters tear the wagon down the trail gathering tumbleweeds with it. A tight concise cover and the first one I've ever heard from these guys. Real essential piece of vinyl here. Going to call it an early favorite for 2013. Nice work.

Get this from Double Double Whammy Records, Fat History Month or

Check out the tracks below or stream the whole thing at Brooklyn Vegan.

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